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Generalised System of Preferences

Why in news?

United States plan to end preferential duty-free imports of up to $5.6 billion from India could raise costs for American consumers.

About Generalised System of Preferences

  • The Generalized System of Preferences is the largest and oldest United States trade preference programme.
  • It is a tariff scheme that facilitates duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
  • It was established by the Trade Act of 1974.

More about GSP

  • The U.S. intended it to promote economic development by eliminating duties on some products it imports
 
  • from the 120 countries designated as beneficiaries.
  • GSP helps spur sustainable development in beneficiary countries by helping them increase and diversify their trade with the U.S.
  • GSP boosts American competitiveness by reducing the costs of imported inputs used by U.S. companies to manufacture goods in the United States.
  • The objective of GSP was to give development support to poor countries by promoting exports from them into the developed countries.
  • India has been the largest beneficiary of the scheme.
  • It provides a formal system of exemption from the more general rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • It is a system of exemptions from the most favored nation principle (MFN).
  • It exempts WTO member countries from MFN for the purpose of lowering tariffs for the least developed countries, without also lowering tariffs for rich countries.

Benefits

  • Increased Indian exports as well as profit for Indian exporters
  • Indian products became more competitive in the American market
  • It helped new exporters to establish in the American market

What withdrawal means to India?

  • The Indian export industry may not feel the pinch of the GSP removal for India by the U.S.
  • The loss for the industry amounts to about $190 million on exports of $5.6 billion falling under the GSP category.
  • But specific sectors, such as gem and jewellery, leather and processed foods will lose the benefits of the programme.
  • India enjoyed duty exemptions on exports worth of 5.6 billion dollars. Hence, it will eat into India’s market share in the US as well as profits of Indian exporters.
  • The US is a major export destination for India. Hence, the move will effect in the trade balance in US favour.
World Press Freedom Prize

Why in news?

The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was being awarded to jailed Myanmar journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, who reported on alleged human rights violations in state of Rakhine, Myanmar.

About World Press Freedom Prize

  • UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.
  • It was created in 1997.
  • It is awarded annually.
  • The Prize was established on the initiative of UNESCO's Executive Board and is formally conferred on the
 
  • occasion of World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May.
  • It is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper in Bogotá, Colombia on 17 December 1986.

Government Interventions

PM STIAC

Why in news?

A waste to wealth mission project has been approved under the recently constituted Prime Minister's Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PMSTIAC).

About PM-STIAC

  • Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) is an overarching body for assessment, creation and implementation of major scientific, technology and innovation interventions for India.
  • It is a nine member body which has replaced the two Scientific Advisory Committees (SAC) for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
  • It is expected to act as a high level advisory body to several ministries and execute mission-oriented programmes.
  • The PM-STIAC will be chaired by the government’s Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA).
  • PM STIAC facilitates the PSA’s Office to assess the status in specific science and technology domains and advise the Prime Minister accordingly.

Difference with SAC

  • Unlike in the earlier SACs, secretaries of various scientific ministries such as education, environment and health would be ‘special invitees’ to the council meetings.
  • This is so that members are allowed free discussions outside the comfort zone of officials.
  • While industry representatives were present in greater numbers in the earlier SACs, PM-STIAC has a single industry member, given the government’s call to industry is to increase jobs via entrepreneurship.

Nine national missions announced under PM-STIAC

  1. Natural Language Translation
  2. Quantum Frontier
  3. Artificial Intelligence
  4. National Biodiversity Mission
  5. Electric Vehicles
  6. Bioscience for Human Health
  7. Waste to Wealth
  8. Deep Ocean Exploration
  9. AGNIi (Accelerating Growth for New India's Innovations (Taking technologies to commercialisation)
Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)

Why in news?

SFIO arrests former Bhushan Steel CFO for fraudulent practices.

About SFIO

  • The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is a corporate fraud investigating agency in India.
  • SFIO is a multi-disciplinary organization, consisting of experts in the field of accountancy, forensic auditing,
 
  • law, information technology, investigation, company law, capital market and taxation for detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution white-collar crimes/frauds.
  • It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India.
  • The SFIO is involved in major fraud probes and is the coordinating agency with the Income Tax Department and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
  • Vajpayee Government decided to setup SFIO on 9 January 2003 based on the recommendation of Naresh Chandra Committee on corporate governance.
  • SFIO has head office in New Delhi and regional offices in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Current Affair Capsules

Kamov Ka 31
  • The Kamov Ka-31 is a military helicopter developed for the Soviet Navy and currently in service in Russia, China and India in the naval airborne early warning and control role.
  • Defence ministry approves Navy's deal with Russia for 10 Kamov-31 helicopters.
Operation Swift Retort
  • The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will remember February 27 response to Indian aggression as ‘Operation Swift Retort’.
  • It is immediately after February 26 Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out counter-terror operation (Balakot Air Strike).
Chevalier of Order of the Legion of Honour
  • A S Kiran Kumar, the former chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation, was conferrsed Chevalier of Order of the Legion of Honour for his contribution to India-France space cooperation.
  • It is the highest civilian award given by the French government for outstanding service to the country, regardless of the nationality of the recipient.
Reiwa Era
  • The Reiwa is the name of new imperial era of Japan which started with Emperor Akihito’s elder son, Naruhito, ascended to the throne as the 126th Emperor of Japan.
  • Stepping down of Emperor Akihito brings his “Heisei” era to an end.

Map aided programme

Aegean Sea
  • The Aegean is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the Greek and Anatolian peninsulas i.e. between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey.
  • In the north, the Aegean is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosphorus.
  • The Aegean Islands are within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including Crete and Rhodes.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)-(2013)

  1. In the context of Indian economy, which of the following is/are the purpose / purposes of ‘Statutory Reserve Requirements?
  2. To enable the Central Bank to control the amount of advances the banks can create.
  3. To make the people’s deposits with banks safe and liquid.
  4. To prevent the commercial banks from making excessive profits.
  5. To force the banks to have sufficient vault cash to meet their day-to-day requirements.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  • 1 only (b) 1 and 2 only                      

(c) 2 and 3 only                 (d) 1, 2, 3 and 4